Saturday, May 26, 2007

"It certainly sounds clever enough to be true."

Let us surmise that "There are none more hungry than those who have too much to eat". It certainly sounds clever enough to be true.

Let me extend this idea into a new area. While their concept seems admirable, the reality of the use of human rights is depressing. Those who glory in their ownership of human rights seem to be those in the least need of them - which seems to me about as evident as my first statement. I see quite a link between the incessant consumption of unneeded food, and the constant use of human rights to benefit oneself. It seems to me that human rights can also be 'consumed' - for if one person uses them too strenuously, it seems to deprive their use from others. This notion helps me to understand why we who are privileged are full to bursting of human rights, while they are so invisible elsewhere.

The whole point of human rights is to produce equality across all humans, without that aim they are worse than useless. (With that aim they at least can be no worse than useless, I hope, otherwise to expurgate the idea we will presumably need equal terror and bloodshed to that which installed it in our societies). But their current use seems to be to create equality across those who need it least, a parity of privilege which all the privileged can exult in. This is a terrifying state of affairs. If we are all equal to be equally well off, as long as we are well off already, we are not creating any idea of human rights. We are merely creating an excuse for our larders to be as packed as our stomachs.

The biggest sign of human rights being tailored to suit us most perfectly is the equal and opposite notion of 'responsibilities'. If we are to have rights, we are told, we must also 'fulfill our responsibilities'.

On the fact of it, this sounds quite charming. Why not deny the manna of full humanity to those who cannot follow the rules? Why not make this a club by membership only?

However, it must be noted that those who are making the rules are genetically engineering 'human rights'. They are in power of them. And who is so human that they can negotiate this phantom concept to the ill of all others?

If we cannot distribute human rights equally, then we should abolish them. I do not see why anybody is less human than anybody else, and if we persist in pretending that they are, we should forfeit any such 'rights' we have imagined.

At the back of my mind is the idea that, if human rights were ubiquitous, they would not matter anymore. We would not have to invent them, to reify them, to bring them up an obstacle between humans. We would just act for each person as a means rather than an end, and not have to parcel them up in this strange legal formulation. The phantom would disappear. It is clearly an idiosyncrasy to demand natural and innate rights for all people, to suppose them with force and vigour, if they are indeed natural and innate. If they already exist then they do not even need to be mentioned - for they are there. If they do not exist then we cannot will them into existence.

So, either we all have human rights (and they are not worthy of mention). Or some have them (and are therefore more equal than others). In either case, stop being so greedy to take what you have, but have no need for.

4 Comments:

Blogger Matt said...

Hello News,

Enjoyed your post. I wanted thought to play devils advocate for a moment and insist that it is not human rights as an existent or non-existent circumstance (all people treated equally, as naturally following from their inherent humanity) that is at stake, but human right as an existent or non-existent moral prescription. The former, which you seem to address in your penultimate paragraph, is human rights as a fact of life, whereas the latter is human rights as a moral imperative that needs to be brought into factual circumstance through what we should do, and not merely how things are at the moment.

Anyway, human rights bad, me say.

8:44 PM  
Blogger News is Good said...

Human rights as things we should do?!?! They're all about how people should treat me and allow me to be rich?!?!

I could almost faint from anger at the proposition that human rights may involve me considering others as human and having rights!

4:13 PM  
Blogger Matt said...

Well as you know I completely agree. As my previous posts on love hinted, I think that acting on moral obligation is not in fact to act according to how you judge a person, but that you simply recognise them as generally a person. Same with human rights. I don't think any 'respect' is garnered in this way. In fact it is completely indiscriminate, which is why I reject generalisations in relationships as well as human-qua-human value systems. If I am expected to treat people a certain way because of a human-qua-human value system, I'm afraid I have to decline, like your good self.

Do human rights, or if they don't, will they, include economic buzz words like 'job opportunities' or suchlike?

12:02 PM  
Blogger Tumuli said...

"In either case, stop being so greedy to take what you have, but have no need for."

The best, and most intelligent, advice.

8:51 PM  

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